Thursday, May 29, 2014

Carton House

Yesterday we woke up to another Sunny day.  So I fed the kids and we set off for a walk along the Carton Avenue path that runs behind our neighborhood.  It's a long green avenue with a paved path for walking and has green grass, then brambles, then hedgerows on either side.  It runs from the end of Main Street in Maynooth for a kilometer and a half East towards Carton House.  Carton House was once the home of the Earls of Kildare and the Duke of Leinster, but is now a hotel.  The path crosses a road and then enters the grounds of Carton House passing through one of the golf courses there. The avenue is a really nice walk, and a shortcut through the brambles makes it very convenient to us.
Cranky kiddos aside, I had a nice time.  I got to get some photos of birds that I've seen before, and added some new ones too.  Before we even made it to the avenue, I saw this Blackbird singing away up in a tree.

Blackbird - Maynooth, Ireland
They really are a monochromatic vesion of the American Robin, they act and sing very similarly. We also got to get pretty close to a Magpie.  It was up against the blackberry bushes.  You can see the beautiful blue/green colors on the wings.  And as my daughter found out, they really like cheddar bunnies.
Magpie - Maynooth, Ireland
Speaking of Robins, I was hearing them sing everywhere, but seeing them was a different matter.  They are fairly tiny, maybe sparrow size, but they can really project their song.  I was finally able to see one towards the edge of a tree and got a decent photo of it.

Robin - Maynooth, Ireland
I see one or more of these guys on my walks.  They do typical perch and then fly out to grab a bug as most flycatchers, so they are pretty easy to spot if you are looking.

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher - Maynooth, Ireland
We made it across the one road and through the golf course and found a nice little spot for a rest and a snack, under a big oak next to this great looking stone bridge near a big pond.

Bridge at Carton House
Bridge at Carton House - Kildare, Ireland
There were lots of bird activity around. Lots of Swallows and Martins were flying over the water.  Near our picnic spot was a boathouse and I noticed a flash of yellow on one of the roofs.  What could have been a Kingbird in the US was instead a Grey Wagail, a lifer for me.

Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail - Carton House, Ireland
The entire time that we were stopped eating out snack another Blackbird was above us in the oak singing away.
Blackbird - Carton House, Ireland
I noticed some small birds flying in and out of a snag, but the kids were getting too restless for me to get a good look, but I think that it was a pair of Tits tending to a nest (hey, I didn't name them). But I did see a small bird flying around the edges of a different tree.  Another lifer for me, this one a Chaffinch.

Chaffinch - Carton House, Ireland
Another Chaffinch landed in the grass nearby, this time you can see the coloring on the wings and a bit of the dark forehead that they have.  The one above may be a juvenile, but I have no idea what their nesting seasons are like.

Chaffinch - Carton House, Ireland
I may have also seen a Cuckoo or maybe a Mistle Thrush in the same area.  And a really yellow bird landed near me, but I never had the chance to get a good look at it as I was carrying my son instead of my binoculars at this point. But I'm going to take a walk there by myself this weekend and hopefully see what that is, and maybe a raptor too.

I plan on spending lots of time along Carton Avenue while we're here, and I'll be branching out to some other spots soon too.  Our household shipment got in from the US today, so my scope and tripod are finally here and in one piece. So perhaps I'll make a trip the shore soon.


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